Father David Richter with the Church of Jesus the Good Sheppard in Monroe says this news doesn't change anything for local churches, but does come as a big surprise.
He said it's surprising because the late pope, John Paul II, didn't consider increasing weakness toward the end of his term and Pope Benedict's ideas were along the same lines as the former pope.
However, Richter says he understands that the pope knows the state of his body.
"We knew that Pope Benedict was gradually becoming weaker and not able to take on the more ambitious duties that a younger pope would be able to," said Father Richter. "I suppose he came to the conclusion that he was becoming too limited and it would be better for a new man to take his place."
He added that lately he noticed the pope not being able to make the long walks through St. Peter's to the alter, and needing to ride on something instead for assistance.
"I don't think any one would argue that he's lost anything as far as mental acuity, but his physical strength has been waning somewhat," Father Richter said.
Richter says because a pope hasn't resigned since 600 years ago, there is no recently used protocol to guess what will happen.
"It will be interesting to see who is chosen," he said. "The cardinals aren't limited in who they might choose."
He adds that Pope Benedict emphasized a traditional sense in the church during his term -- such as speaking and cultivating the Latin language -- and that may be something Pope Benedict won't want to change.